I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
This book was both everything I love and everything I loathe about historical fiction.
Everything I love includes characters pulled straight out of history: Chaucer, Gower, Richard the II, Hawkswood, and plots that involve books and codes and secret symbols.
Everything I loathe is, ironically, everything that makes this a more or less accurate work of historical fiction. Told from different points of view throughout the book, two of the perspectives are those of prostitutes and there's no sugar coating the language or the profession. It's raw and graphic and just not what I enjoy reading no matter the setting or the time period. There are also POVs from mercenaries and the acts they threaten to carry out and ultimately do carry out are disgustingly graphic and inhumane. Verisimilitude can go too far for my tastes and does so here.
But, by far, the things I loved kept me glued to this book, even when the things I loathed would have me DNF it. It was so well written, I wanted to know what was going to happen to John Gower, and Simon, and Millicent. And of course, I wanted to know more about the Burnable Book.
So, if your tastes are more tolerant than mine, I highly recommend this book. I'm not at all sorry I read it - it was a great story, I couldn't put down - even when it offended my delicate sensibilities.